past the weather

We have power again, and have gained 100 years of technology more or less, overnight. Al was trying to figure out how far back in time we'd gone when we could cook on the stove, and the water ran, but there was no heat except from the stove (and the people, and the candles) and no light and certainly no internet. It was his thought that we'd lost 100 years of progress in one quick blink. After we regained power, and before friends did, we hosted many people for eating, cooking and several showers. The best comment was from Rachel exiting the shower. She was asked "how do you feel now dear?" and answered "cleaner than you" which brought down the house.

The town and the power company seemed to communicate well, and they got us power back well before their first estimate. I am thinking we owe a lot of thanks to the crews that came in from other states, like the man from Oregon that Cathy was talking to at the top of a phone pole, or the guy from South Carolina who was taking down a tree in Montague.

I successfully delivered two original works, and 10 photographic reproductions (mounted, signed and shrink-wrapped) to the Crane Estate on Monday. The driving got more and more normal as I apporached the coast – fewer trees part way across the road and leaning precariously on phone and power lines, fewer branches blocking off half the road. Mum and I had a lovely lunch (thanks Mom!!) and I drove right back home again.

After a day of breathing and not-driving yesterday, except for a really good lesson on Image, I realized I have to think about November.

Historically November is NaNoWriMo which is short for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is simply to finish a piece of work that you've been hung up on, or have started but haven't finished, or have thought about but never started. The rules can be summarized as: "write, and don't look back." The theory is that once you develop forward momentum it is easier to keep going. The general advice is to write like crazy in November and spend a month revising (like, say, December) and then if you think it is worthwhile, send it out to someone. Not everyone is working towards publishing a book. Many people join simply because they want to have written a book, and this is a handy support group for doing exactly that.

Last year I joined some people working on a craft version of this, called NaNoCraftMo, where we tried to work on something every day. That was when I started trying to capture the pond I am so enamored of in fabric, and produced a series of pieces my mother loved. You can see those here, here and here. Those helped me produce the pieces I just handed in to the ladies in Ipswich. So NaNo was a useful exercise, and I am going to do something again.

Several months ago I joined the World Sketchbook Tour, but I have had trouble focusing on the sketchbook. If I work every day in November, it will be full, and interesting and done. And then I can mail it. My theme is A Path Among Trees which is perfect for the things I've been noticing lately. All I have to figure out is how I can make my fabric things work in a sketch book.

And then I can spend December doing something completely frivolous and foolish that I can choose from a list of frivolous and foolish things I've been keeping for moments like that.

the organizational scrimmage


I've gotten photographic reproductions from my local print shop.

Paradise Copies is right around the corner from me. They are kind of amazing. Every time I ask them if they can do something, they say yes, and it is cheaper and easier than I expected. This time I had to make reproductions, mount them on foam core and shrink wrap them. With a  short break in the middle of the process for me to make labels, sign them and attach them to the back of the mounted pieces. 

That process is well underway. The last piece is framing the big guys. Al says fall and winter should go, but that I should make more too, because he wants to see spring. 

winter pond

pond in winter


The horse show yesterday was fun but exhausting. Our ride went well – we were giggling like crazy through the whole thing, and we made the judges laugh. I think the people who traveled for it had a good time. I think I know a bunch of ways to make it less stressful next year. If I can get a copy of the video of our test, I'll post a pointer to it. 

birch reflections

birch reflections
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I think this one is done.

I have to make another about today, because I just had the best ride in ages – out on trails with company, trotting and cantering along under the cloudless blue sky, with the amazing colors of a New England fall bright and backlit all around me (and sometimes stuck into my helmet!).

Thank you socks

Marian's Hedera socks
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Paul's simple socks
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Socks for Alice's teachers, to thank them for a great year.

It feels odd to have finished all these socks. I think I started the purple lace ones in January or February, and finished the toes of the blue and green ones Thursday evening, weaving in all the ends because, well, you can't give away socks with strings hanging off them even if I wear them that way myself.

I got organized to go out to something I thought I might be boring enough to knit, and I didn't have anything to bring. I had to settle for a book. That felt weird

I'm knitting entirely from stash this year. I have all the Socks That Rock yarns from last year that I didn't touch, and the patterns with them that just do not speak to me. I have some random things I found at Webs on sale, all good for socks. I think the next is some orangeade/limeade/grapejuice socks for me. I have the yarn right here. It has been talking to me for a month, telling me to finish these things and get to work.

weaving in the ends

At the end of every knitting pattern I have ignored to date, there is the instruction at the end. It says "Weave in loose ends."  There is generally some nonsense about blocking as well, but for socks, well, I have block shaped feet so I figure that works fine for me. I wear all my handmade socks with the strings sticking out like this:

It is a personal failing that I have acknowledged, and care about insufficiently to modify. But now the ends of my art are sticking out and it feels untidy and unfinished.

I am not sure how to describe what I want to do next.

It occurred to me in the middle of last year that I am creating for myself a giant, self directed art curriculum. I spent the first year making simple things over and over again, varying the constraints and trying to find a style and voice that is authentically mine.

I think this year I want to explore different media. My shelves and drawers are full of paints and inks and markers and more of all of these that I purchased thinking they would be good to use. Now is the time to use them. What I want to do is spend time every day noodling with a particular medium. The aim is to explore what I can do with it when I come at it again and again and again. How far can I push one particular idea? How flexible is it? How much control do I get, and how much serendipity do I have to accept? It should take at least a month of daily effort to begin to get a grip on these things, and I am actually thinking about six weeks each. Or until I run out of stuff. At the end of each media  exploration, I need to be able to do a final project using that stuff. It may be some kind of piece using the samples I have made, or it may be a final report kind of thing. I will probably write a brief review of what I liked and hated, and what I might use it for in the future, if I ever want to touch it again….

I am starting with transfer paints, but also allowed to use the transfer crayons and transfer pencil that I have squirreled away.

This is going to be a more boring blog for a while. I will document the process as much as I can, but I am not sure how useful it will be once posted.

giant clothes

Sept 13
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

I’m experimenting with my own face, mostly because I don’t think I should subject anyone else’s mug shot to the things I’ve been thinking about.

I also made two shirts for Alice.


I have been making dolls and doll clothes for long enough that working on actual people clothes, even for kids, feels like making giant’s clothes. In a fit of brilliance I insisted she give me a shirt she wasn’t wearing any more in return for the nice new shirt. I got two for the second shirt. I am feeling extremely crafty, both like a grandma and like a fox.

dizzy social whirl

Sept 9
Originally uploaded by Dancing Crow.

Still working on faces; I figured I’d get more local in time and space. These last three are my family. I was thinking about saving mine for later, or saving all the others til I could post all four together, but the deal is a-Postcard-a-Day.

We had two parties today, both local. The first was the 2nd annual Ward Three Picnic, with Politics and Neighbors. We had a nice time schmoozing with neighbors, talking about real estate prices and local views and the proposed off-ramp.

But we had to leave early to make it out to my neighbor’s Pirate Birthday at their lake house. We made it in time for beer and pizza and cake and the pinata. And the giving of the presents. Alice wanted to give Yelena a pony with a cart. She made the cart, and I  finished a pony. Alice found three legs on my desk. I made a fourth leg and a body, and finished it up this morning. Here he cavorts with his brothers before going into the box with ribbon. The new one is purple.